Huffer was an Autobot Mini Vehicle released in 1984, in the first wave of Generation 1. Huffer transforms into a generic semi tractor resembling an older Ottawa yard spotter truck (a small, plain semi cab used for moving trailers short distances), if only in silhouette.
His mold was originally THOUGHT to be part of Takara’s 1983 Microman: Microchange line as MC04 Mini CAR Robo 07: Semi Truck. However, recent discoveries published by YouTube’s Chris McFeely, indicate that Huffer was likely designed for Knickerbocker Toys’s Mysterians: Mobile Force as a toy called Truckar, before Knickerbocker went out of business and presumably sold the designs to Hasbro or Takara, while selling some other non-vehicle Mysterians designs to Marchon.
In his orange truck mode, he has two large chrome smokestacks and shares his deeply treaded plastic wheels with wave-mates Brawn and Gears. Like all the former Microchange Mini CAR “big vehicles,” he also shares a similar, very simple, transformation scheme. His chrome arms pull out from the sides, and his legs slide down from the rear of the vehicle. Unlike the others, the cab section must be rotated into place to reveal his face, which is located between the chassis and the cab. The sides of the cab bear a stylized “M” logo molded into the doors, once thought to represent Microchange, but which are now understood to be the Mysterians logo, as the same M also appears on Marchon’s eventual release of the geometrical-shape Mysterians.
Date stamp location: on top of truck frame behind cab
Rubsign location: None (1984), or center of roof (1985)
Huffer is very sturdy, and despite a propensity to chrome wear, spotting, or fading, he is often intact. However, in cases of excessive force applied to the front wheels, they can break from their offset position beneath the smokestacks. This phenomenon seems to be more common on his successor, Pipes.
Huffer did not receive any major design upgrades throughout his production, his variants simly follow the updating of date stamps.International variants of Huffer also exist from Mexico and Greece. There also does not appear to be a second mold lineage, which could either indicate the second molds were such an exact copy of the first as to be unnoticeable, or that the original tooling was not worn to the point of needing replacement.
Type 1: Pre-rubsign, "Takara Japan" stamp
Type 2: Pre-rubsign, "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983" stamp
Type 3: With rubsign, "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983" stamp
Type 4: With rubsign, "©Takara Co. Ltd. Japan 1974-1983 ©Hasbro 1974-1983" stamp
Type 1GR: Pre-rubsign, no date stamp, red painted eye band, darker orange
Type ?MX: ??
Huffer was available in the US and UK as part of the first wave of G1 in 1984. He was available again in 1985 including in continental Europe, having traded the Autobot logo on his roof for a rubsign in the same place. This version was released in Japan’s G1 - Fight! Super Robot Lifeform Transformers as Drag. Brawn was produced and sold by licensee El Greco in Greece as Γίγαντας (Gigantas [Giant]), listed as Type 1GR above, though a large number seem to have been mistakenly sold on the El Greco Brawn card backer. Like the other 1984 Minibots, some 1985 releases included a Mini-Spy to help promote the new rubsign gimmick.
Case Assortments (Item#/Asst#): 1984: (E5703/5700), 4 per 24; 1985: Mini Vehicles with Mini-Spy (E5703/5709), 4 per 24; Mini Vehicles Assortment 2 (E5703/5710), 1 per 24
MSRP: $2.99 (1984)
Packaging: Blister card with instructions and Tech Spec on back, displayed in vehicle mode (1984), or robot mode (1985)
Robot Points: 1/2 Autobot
Redecos & Retools
He was available in a 2004 Japanese Minibot Team Set as part of Takara’s The Transformers Collection. This version was recolored in Japan to produce the 2004 e-HOBBY Road Ranger as a member of the G1 Gobots set. While Pipes appears to be a retool of Huffer in 1986, the extent of the retooling (extending to nearly every part) indicates that Pipes was largely an entirely new mold. This is further indicated by Huffer’s eventual reissue, in contrast to Cliffjumper, whose every would-be reissue was instead presented as his retool, Hubcap, and Brawn’s would-be reissue slots being occupied by Swerve.
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